Author Archives: Web Master

An urban nature sanctuary rises on the banks of the Desjardins Canal

Progress is being made at the site of the former Veldhuis greenhouses where a soil cap has literally raised the site to cap contaminants in anticipation of native species plantings later this year.

A soil cap has been placed throughout the property to help contain the remaining soil contaminants from the original site. Plantings will begin in the coming months and over time the vegetation will filter the contaminants naturally. The site is home to the last remains of the Veldhuis greenhouses: the chimney which has been preserved and reinforced to protect habitat for chimney swifts.

Pilings for the boardwalk can be seen in the image below but the most innovative feature is the addition of floating islands of vegetation designed to flourish by gobbling up the surplus nutrients and may reduce the algae along with all the problems algal blooms can cause to the canal’s ecosystem.

veldhuis islands
Workers inspect floating wildlife islands which will feed on excess nutrients in the Desjardins Canal and provide a much needed boost for the canal’s water quality.

Volunteer at Color Me Rad and raise $100 for the EcoPark!

The running phenomenon, Color Me Rad, is coming again to Christie Lake Conservation Area on Saturday, July 26th. We’re super excited to announce that a portion of proceeds will once again be donated to the Foundation’s EcoPark Campaign to build new trails along the Desjardins Canal in Dundas!

Volunteer!

Our friends at McMaster University are helping to take the lead on recruiting volunteers for the event. For every volunteer that signs up to volunteer at the event, Color Me Rad will make a $100 donation to the Foundation! Where else can you have an amazing, fun-filled day and raise $100 for a great cause?

Register to Run!

Use the promo code “TREEHUGGERS” when you register to get 10% off the registration fee! When you use the promo code, 15% also gets donated to the Foundation. It’s a big win-win!

Poster for Color Me Rad event with picture of event participant.

Join us for Montana’s Community Night this coming Monday!

Our friends at Montana’s Cookhouse in Stoney Creek are holding a community night this coming Monday, June 16th! Join us for a bite to eat and help make Hamilton a greener place for future generations! 10% of proceeds (excluding alcohol) collected after 6 PM will go toward the Foundation’s Conservation Fund which helps build trails, secure land and get children learning outdoors!

Montana’s Cookhouse 815 Paramount Dr. Stoney Creek (Click here for a map and details)

Donors and volunteers erect turtle fencing on Cootes Drive.

Hamilton Conservation Foundation donors and volunteers are banding together to keep turtles off Cootes Drive this spring as they move from Cootes Paradise to nesting beds along Spencer Creek and back again.

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) installed silt fencing along the Cootes Paradise side of Cootes Drive in 2012 with great success. The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA), which owns the nesting beds upstream along Spencer Creek, is installing more fencing to help new turtle families find their way back to Cootes Paradise under the Spencer Creek bridge and keep them off of Cootes Drive.

Photo of volunteers installing silt fence along Cootes Drive

After putting out an urgent call for donations on social media, the Foundation was quickly inundated with donations totalling $1,108 to more than cover the $900 cost of installing the fencing. “When something so simple and impactful needs just a little help, […] it’s no sweat,” tweeted donor Darryl Clarke. With only one week to raise the funds, the campaign relied heavily on the immediacy of social media communication to get the word out to community members who responded quickly and generously.

HCA staff is working with a team of 7 community volunteers who have pledged a total of 60 volunteer hours to install the fence. The team will work along the south side of Cootes Drive, between Olympic Drive and the Spencer Creek Rail Trail where it crosses Cootes Drive, Monday, May 5th and Tuesday, May 6th. The RBG fence will be installed concurrently on the north side of Cootes Drive.

Background:

The silt fence is being installed for the protection of turtles, including a number of species at risk turtles, which breed in this area. Local volunteer group Dundas Turtle Watch reported 25 turtle deaths along Cootes Drive between 2009 and 2012. RBG has installed silt fence on their lands since 2012. The silt fence will be in place from May until September.

Photo of volunteers installing silt fencing along Cootes Drive

Thank you for helping us keep turtles off Cootes Drive!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us reach and surpass our goal of $900! Together you raised $1,008 for Hamilton’s turtles in one week! We’ll be setting a date in the next two weeks to put up the turtle fence and we’ll be sure to let everyone know when that is. Thank you cards and rewards will be fulfilled later this week. In the meantime, please accept our sincere thanks for your incredible support!

Help us keep turtles off Cootes Drive this spring as they move from Cootes Paradise to nesting beds along Spencer Creek and back again! Our partners at the Royal Botanical Gardens installed silt fencing along the Cootes Paradise side of Cootes Drive in 2012 with great success.

Now we’re looking for donations so that staff and volunteers can install silt fencing along the Spencer Creek side of the road. This fencing will help new turtle families find their way back to Cootes Paradise under the Spencer Creek bridge and keep them off of Cootes Drive.

With $900, we’ll be able to buy materials to build an eco-friendly and effective barrier that helps turtles complete their journey from Cootes Paradise to their Spencer Creek nesting beds and back again!

Why this is so important!

These are long lived turtles, some reaching 70 years of age or more and like us they are not mature enough to breed until they are teenagers. The loss of one adult turtle has a devastating effect on the population as a whole. Volunteer data from Dundas Turtle Watch shows that between 2009 and 2012 over 25 turtles have been killed along this section of Cootes Drive seriously hampering collective efforts to protect Hamilton’s biodiversity.

Why now?

We need your support by April 4th so that we can have the silt fencing installed before nesting season begins at the end of April! Otherwise this means another season of turtle mortality on Cootes Drive.

What happens if we exceed our campaign goal?

Any donations received above and beyond our fundraising goal will go to the Dundas Valley Conservation Fund which supports other local wildlife habitat restoration and monitoring projects.

Project Map

Silt fencing:

Image of six turtles following silt fence to safety.
Image Source: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk Branch

Silt fencing provides an affordable, unobtrusive and eco-friendly way to keep reptiles and amphibians out of hazard areas.

Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival brings thousands out to celebrate the Valley

With a little bit of sunshine and a whole lot of hot chocolate, thousands of visitors, donors and volunteers came out to celebrate Family Day at the Dundas Valley Trail Centre.

P1030643

Everyone enjoyed the musical acts and gourmet cuisine from local food trucks. The event, now in its third year, drew an estimated 2,000 visitors and raised approximately $14,000 for the Foundation’s Dundas Valley Conservation Fund!

A few lucky visitors even got to dress up in our Foundation Wildlife photo booth where we had masks featuring the species that will benefit from the event’s proceeds. Between the red fox, eastern bluebird, raccoon, great horned owl and eastern cottontail, we had a busy (and extremely cute!) little booth! You can see the photos on our Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1gGXXtb.

2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for Hamilton’s favourite green spaces

Armed with tons of data from the Natural Areas Inventory project that finished in 2013 and your generous donations, the Conservation Authority is launching a whole slew of habitat improvement and species monitoring projects this field season!

We’ll be launching pilot projects to get rid of invasive species such as Buckthorn and Dog-strangling Vine, restoring natural stream channels at Christie Lake CA and naturalizing the Maplewood property in the Dundas Valley CA.

In fact, we’re looking forward to launching ecology projects in every one of our major Conservation Areas! You can help us do even more at your favourite CA by selecting it from the drop-down menu the next time you’re on our donation page.

We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and videos of the work as it happens and let you know how your support is making our green spaces even better!

Westfield is turning 50!

One of Southern Ontario’s great heritage institutions hits an important milestone this summer; Westfield Heritage Village is turning 50!

We’re hoping you’ll join us on June 15th to toast Westfield! What started as a collection of four heritage buildings at Westfield’s official opening in 1964 has evolved into a living, breathing, pioneer village with 35 buildings, over 200 volunteers and thousands of artefacts.

IMG 1870

Thousands of visitors every year are transported by Westfield’s wealth of 18th, 19th and early 20th Century heritage which is brought to life by volunteer costumed interpreters. Those volunteers fundraise every year to bring new buildings to Westfield through the Friends of Westfield organization with the Foundation as their charitable partner.

All told, Westfield has cemented itself as the cornerstone of Southern Ontario’s rich cultural heritage over the last 50 years, an achievement we can’t wait to celebrate. Details of the celebration will be posted in April on the Westfield website at www.westfieldheritage.ca.

New Foundation Executive Director combines fundraising savvy with love of nature

Experienced fundraiser Grace Correia has joined the Hamilton Conservation Foundation as Executive Director.

With nearly 25 years of fundraising experience, Grace was most recently the Campaign Director for United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin where she managed a series of successful multi-million dollar annual campaigns since 2009.

grace

Grace is quick to counter, however, that it’s her love of nature above all else that makes her a perfect fit at the Foundation: “Every weekend I’m hiking at a different spot in Hamilton, even if I need to strap on my ice cleats! What better job could there be than connecting donors with these green spaces that enrich our lives so much?”

Grace started at the Foundation on January 20th and is based out of the Conservation Authority’s head office at 838 Mineral Springs Road in Ancaster. She takes over from Joan Bell, who retired at the end of January. You can call Grace at 905-525-2181 ext. 111 or email her at grace.correia@conservationhamilton.ca.

Applications open for Student Award for Environmental Leadership

Are you a high school student in Hamilton about to start College or University in an environmental field? If you want to make a difference for Hamilton’s environment, you could win $1,000 to help with your education. All you have to do is fill out our application form, send us your resume, a quick little letter telling us how much you love the natural world and anything else that would help us understand why you’re the best candidate!

The award will be presented at the 35th annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards at a dinner at Michelangelo Banquet Centre on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014. Click here for more details about the dinner.

Applications are due by Monday, March 31st. You can submit yours by emailing foundation@conservationhamilton.ca or mailing it to:

Student Award for Environmental Leadership
c/o Hamilton Conservation Foundation
P.O. Box 81067
838 Mineral Springs Road
Ancaster, ON L9G 4X1

If you have any questions or need any help filling out the application please don’t hesitate to call Toby Tresidder at 905-525-2181 ext. 129 or email foundation@conservationhamilton.ca.

Natural Areas Inventory unearths more rare finds!

There’s some excellent coverage in the Friday, February 7th issue of the Hamilton Spectator about some of the finds unearthed by the Nature Counts 2: Natural Areas Inventory project! Read the article by clicking here.

This work is made possible thanks to donations to the Foundation’s Area of Greatest Need Fund as well as funding from our fantastic partners:

  • The City of Hamilton
  • Conservation Halton
  • The Hamilton Naturalists Club
  • The Hamilton-Wentworth Stewardship Council
  • The McCallum McBride Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation
  • The McLean Foundation
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • The Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • The Salamander Foundation

To find out more about the Nature Counts 2 project and its findings. Please click here to visit the project webpage.

Braden Marshall wins Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award

One of our favourite people in the whole wide world: impressionable young fundraiser Braden Marshall has been honoured with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)’s Golden Horseshoe 2013 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award!

Many of you will be familiar with Braden’s accomplishments having been the driving force behind the Hot Chocolate Festival. In the first two years of the festival, Braden’s appeal to young families to get outdoors on Family Day and enjoy the Dundas Valley Conservation Area has attracted thousands of people.

To find out more about Braden’s outstanding acheivement, take a look at the YouTube Video below:

We’re tremendously excited to invite you to join Braden for the 3rd Annual celebration of family fun, active living, and the value of nature this coming February!

Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival
Dundas Valley Conservation Area, 650 Governor’s Road, Dundas, ON
Family Day, Monday, February 17th, 11am to 4pm.

Click here for more details!

Three-Year Natural Areas Inventory Project Complete

Partners Hamilton Conservation Authority, City of Hamilton and Hamilton Naturalists’ Club want to shout hurray and give special thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, McCallum-McBride Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation, Salamander Foundation, McLean Foundation and everyone whose grants, donations and expertise helped us track over 1,000 plant and animal species that call Hamilton’s natural lands home! Thank you to project leaders Tawnia and Nicholas! Best of luck in your future endeavours!

The Natural Areas Inventory team has put together a video about the project’s findings. Take a look!

Year-end brings generous gifts from Hamilton community. Thank you!

It’s been a fantastic year for the Foundation and the EcoPark Campaign! Here’s some of our year-end highlights:

  • An Ontario Trillium Foundation grant of $171,600 will enable HCA and partners to implement the top 10 priorities from the Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision.
  • A pledge of $100,000 from the John Deere Foundation of Canada toward the Desjardins Canal Parklands Visitor Shelter
  • We’re very pleased to announce a two year partnership with the Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Dundas to raise $120,000 cash and in-kind services. This funding will construct the Chimney Swift Viewing Shelter and create the Rotary Forest at the Desjardins Canal Parklands.

chickadee on pinecone-Kortright

  • The Goemans family donated $50,000 in memory of the late Tony Goemans which will fund landscaping improvements to the Devil’s Punchbowl CA. Click here to read more.
  • A donation of $15,000 from Rothsay will fund Outdoor Environmental Education programs in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, which attract an average of 9,000 children each year. By getting children out into nature, Rothsay are continuing to build on their massive legacy of support for the program which spans over 9 years and $120,000.
  • Foundation support for Outdoor Environmental Education topped our annual goal of $55,000 once again with our final three donations coming in right at the wire from RPR Environmental ($7,500), Rothsay ($15,000) and the Dobson-McKee Endowment Fund ($11,387). Thank you everyone!

This list doesn’t even begin to reflect the sustaining generosity that continues to pour in in response to our year-end appeal. We’re on track to have an impact on Hamilton’s green spaces that will be more positive than ever before! If you’d like to add your gift to the growing crowd of supporters declaring their support for green space, please click here.

Happy Holidays from Joan

Dear Friends,

As we approach the holiday season, I look back on a successful year for the Foundation with many exciting prospects ahead as we move into 2014. For myself, the year-end holds even more significance as I prepare for retirement after over 40 years in Ontario’s environmental, energy and conservation movement; 26 of which have been spent in my hometown with the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Conservation Foundation.

As testament to the importance of living and learning in the outdoors, I look to my childhood skating on Twenty Mile Creek; family camping trips and ocean retreats, and a summer with Junior Conservationists, for creating a passion and commitment to conservation.

red berries in snow

Thus began a lifelong career “selling” Ontario’s Conservation Authority movement; marketing outdoor recreation and trails, waterfalls and Westfield; raising funds to make it happen, and most importantly championing environmental education for all ages.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who support the important work of both the Conservation Authority and Foundation; and to my friends and colleagues and our partners, volunteers and donors I extend many, many thanks. It has been a wonderful career.

As a generous donor recently told me “You’re not moving out of Canada are you? No, then you’re not done yet! We will meet again.”

May the new year give you what makes you happy and keeps you healthy.

Sincerely,

Joan Bell
Executive Director

What’s Alive project successful with Shell FuellingChange™

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) and the Hamilton Conservation Foundation (HCF) are pleased to announce the successful securement of a $25,000 grant from the Shell FuellingChange™ Program, for the What’s Alive in Hamilton project.

The funding for the program will be used to educate the Hamilton community and help protect the environment in Hamilton. The What’s Alive in Hamilton project is part of the Natural Areas Inventory (NAI), a complete inventory of natural areas in Hamilton, created so that current information on plant and wildlife species, vegetation communities, and site boundaries is available for agencies which are responsible for protecting and enhancing natural features.

For more information, visit www.conservationhamilton.ca/natural-areas-inventory

Background

Shell awards $1 million to Canadian environmental projects, chosen by its customers. Through the Shell FuellingChange Program, customers are invited to make any purchases at Shell service stations, collect Shell purchase receipts with voting codes, and vote for their favourite environmental projects on FuellingChange.com. To date, over 13 million votes have been cast by customers!

“The great thing about FuellingChange is that it empowers environmental and not-for-profit organizations’ efforts in realizing environmental initiatives, reach out to Canadians and get them involved in building a sustainable future,” said Shell Canada’s president and country chair, Lorraine Mitchelmore. “FuellingChange is part of the process of being proactive and discovering what environmental projects our customers care about.”

Environmental projects pre-selected to participate in the FuellingChange program are eligible to receive funding at three different grant levels: $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000. In addition, those organizations not successful in the voting process receive $10,000 for their project. A total of 31 projects will receive funding, totalling $1 million.

For more information, visit www.fuellingchange.com.

Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision Project receives $171,600 OTF Grant

Hamilton Conservation Authority is pleased to announce that they and their partners who are working on the Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision and Strategy project have received a $171,600 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Funds from the three-year grant will be used to hire a Strategy Manager to implement the first 10 priorities of the Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision and Strategy.

“The Dundas Valley is a critical piece of our community landscape,” said the Hon. Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. “The roots of our local history come from this land. As a healthy haven from the pressures of growth, the Valley provides habitat for many natural species, a classroom for students, trails for families, a home for local agriculture and more. I am proud to live in this region that values the Valley and its blessings and heartily support this project which will ensure its sustainability.”

The Strategy, developed in 2008, looks at the Dundas Valley 50 years from now. It looks at how community partners can protect the Dundas Valley’s diverse cultural and natural heritage, and sustain its agricultural, recreational and economic viability over the next 50 years. Over the past two years, under the guidance of a community steering committee, the project has identified 10 priority areas for implementation and developed action plans for each. The Strategy Manager will be responsible for implementing the 10 action plans with the support of a variety of local community groups.

The organizations involved in the initiative are: Hamilton Conservation Authority, Dundas Valley Historical Society, Manorun Farm, Giant’s Rib Discovery Centre, and Dundas in Transition.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting this Vision project,” said Brian McHattie, Chair of the Hamilton Conservation Authority. “Through collaboration with community partners, the Vision Strategy gives us the opportunity to sustain and enhance this unique and precious area. The Dundas Valley as a whole is significant not only locally, but on a national and international scale. It’s these types of collaborative projects which help the Niagara Escarpment maintain its status as a World Biosphere Reserve while benefiting the residents and visitors who live and play here.”

For more information on the Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision and Strategy, please visit http://www.conservationhamilton.ca/dundas-valley-50-year-vision-and-strategy-2 The leading grant-maker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF helps build healthy and vibrant communities. For more information, please visit: www.otf.ca.

Hamilton Start up WalkBug helps the EcoPark Campaign

The EcoPark Borer’s Falls Walk was unveiled at Software Hamilton’s DemoCamp which took place on November 25th at the Twelve Eighty Student Pub at McMaster University.

The Borer’s Falls EcoPark Walk was developed by Walkbug, winners at the recent October 10th Lions Lair. Walkbug is a mobile experience which allows users to create and share curated walking tours. The software will allow travellers to experience any city as the locals do and allow locals to unearth hidden gems in their neighbourhood. It is it as an exciting social network for walking developed here in Hamilton!

To date, WalkBug has created several downtown Hamilton walking tours but the Borer’s Falls EcoPark Walk is the first walk to highlight some of Hamilton’s conservation areas. WalkBug is creating two further EcoPark Walks: the Desjardins Canal Parklands Walk, and the Cartwright Nature Sanctuary Walk.

For further information on Walkbug, visit www.walkbug.com, and for further information on the EcoPark, visit Ecopark Campaign.

walkbug

Walkbug software developer Nageeb Twal showing us the Borer’s Falls Walk on the Walkbug App.

MACgreen presents $12,000 cheque to the Foundation

McMaster University Students have raised $12,000 through the October 19th Color Me Rad Event for the Ecopark Campaign to protect environmentally significant grasslands located north of campus between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment. These grasslands will form part of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. The McMaster University campus organizations involved in the Color Me Rad EcoPark Grasslands Initiative included the MSU, MacGreen, MacServe and the Mac Outdoor Club. In addition, Ashley Verrall, a Mohawk College Recreation and Leisure student, assisted with the McMaster student Color Me Rad initiative.

The McMaster students have pledged to raise a total of $25,000 to secure Ecopark Grasslands and further fundraising initiatives in Westdale and Dundas are planned. For further information on the McMaster Student initiative, MacGreen for Grasslands, contact Wayne Terrybery at 905-525-9140 ext 26384, or Allyson Wenzowski at 905-379-7353.

McMaster students presenting cheque to Foundation chairman

Left to right: David Campbell, President, McMaster Students Union, Richard MacDonald, Chair, Hamilton Conservation Foundation Board, Katlin Jingco, MSU MacGreen, Wayne Terryberry, Outdoor Recreation & Chair – President’s Advisory Committee on Cootes Paradise.

Welcome


Cherish it. Protect it.

Within our industrial city’s borders are places of incredible natural beauty. These trails, forests, meadows, streams and waterfalls are among the last “green spaces” available for us, and for future generations, to experience and enjoy. We have a unique opportunity to protect and conserve the natural lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites that add so much to our quality of life. It’s in our power to make a difference by safeguarding the habitat of birds, animals, fish and plants.

Your nature – your legacy.

The Hamilton Conservation Foundation raises awareness, funds and resources for the important work of Hamilton Conservation Authority. We invite those who cherish Hamilton’s natural wonders to join us in protecting and enhancing them. Together we can leave a legacy for generations to come.